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Longford Town stun Shelbourne to seal promotion to Premier Divsision

Rob Manley was the Midlanders’ hero.

Updated at 19.28

LONGFORD TOWN SHOCKED Shelbourne with a well-deserved 1-0 victory to earn promotion to the Premier Division at the Reds’ expense.

rob-manley-celebrates-scoring-a-goal-with-team-mates Longford celebrate Rob Manley's all-important goal. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Rob Manley scored the vital goal early in the second half to end a four-year First Division exile for the midlands side.

Shels had to play more than an hour with ten men following the dismissal of Luke Byrne for a second booking as he denied Manley a goalscoring opportunity.

Manley missed the subsequent penalty but he made up for it with what would prove the winner as he took his tally for the shortened season to ten.

Shelbourne started slowly and their plan to sit back and contain the free-flowing Longford side fell apart when Byrne saw red.

The Reds were aggrieved not to see Town midfielder Aodh Dervin sent off in the second minute as his reckless elbow in jumping for a header left Shane Farrell in a heap.

Referee Neil Doyle opted for a yellow card instead for the accidental collision, but he was left with no option but to dismiss Byrne after 27 minutes.

The captain had already been booked for a late tackle on Karl Chambers before he found himself the wrong side Manley and clipped the striker’s heels.

Manley would send the subsequent penalty sailing over the bar but, with the Dubliners a man short, more chances were bound to arrive.

The key chance arrived seven minutes into the second half as Longford’s sustained pressure finally paid off.

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aidan-friel-and-aaron-mcnally Shelbourne's Aidan Friel and Aaron McNally of Longford. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Joe Manley, Rob’s brother, started a move that ended with Dylan Grimes playing in the striker, whose effort was deflected past his keeper by the unfortunate Oscar Brennan.

Shels were belatedly stung into action and the introduction of Ryan Brennan, Aaron Dobbs and Jaze Kabia introduced speed to the attack, which had been lacking for the first hour.

Still, they could create little, Kabia putting a half-chance over before another was cleared off the line, Longford for once sitting in and inviting pressure.

Ryan Brennan had the best chance of all two minutes from time as his shot from a tight angle was saved by Lee Steacy, and Longford held out for a famous victory.

Shelbourne: Jack Brady; Aidan Friel, Oscar Brennan, Luke Byrne, Alex O’Hanlon; Sean Quinn, Shane Farrell (Dan Byrne 28), Mark Byrne (Ryan Brennan 58); Karl Sheppard (Aaron Dobbs 58), Dayle Rooney (Brian McManus 58), Ciaran Kilduff (Jaze Kabia 73).

Longford Town: Lee Steacy; Joe Gorman, Joe Manley, Michael McDonnell; Shane Elworthy, Dean Zambra, Aodh Dervin, Aaron McNally; Karl Chambers (Dean Byrne 69), Dylan Grimes, Rob Manley (Callum Warfield 88).

Referee: Neil Doyle.

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